SHAUN MALONEY today offered his considered opinion on Owen Coyle's candidacy as the next Celtic manager.

The former Hoops striker worked under the frontrunner to replace Neil Lennon when Coyle was in charge of Wigan.

After only six months, he was relieved of that position in December last year, and has been out of work since.

But while Maloney did not exactly endorse Coyle for the job, he insisted it would be wrong to dismiss him because of how his tenure at Wigan ended.

Asked if Coyle could be classed as damaged goods, the Scotland man said: "I wouldn't describe him as that. I think damaged goods is a harsh phrase to use.

"I couldn't tell you the ins and outs, but I think he was close to getting the Celtic job when he was at Burnley, and that's probably the reason why he's mentioned again with the manager changing."

Maloney added: "I didn't play that much for him. I only played five games and needed surgery and then spent a long time in the States.

"It's not nice when anyone loses their job, but we all know it's a results business.

"The easiest thing is to change the manager because it's not easy to change the whole squad."

Coyle is now itching to get into harness, and the Parkhead vacancy clearly appeals to the Glaswegian who is riding high in the bookies' lists.

However, as Maloney knows, it is a unique position with extreme demands.

Could Owen handle it? "It's hard for me to answer that," said the intelligent man from Malaysia.

"I worked with a really good man and someone I thought would be a really good manager, and that was Tony Mowbray.

"That didn't work out pretty quickly. I didn't play too many times for him. But, when I did play, I liked him as a person and his style of football.

"I'm not sure if I could say who would be good for it or not. It's a really intense job."